Spenser's comment on his own work is extraordinarily limited. The first two pieces printed here illustrate his interest in experiment with quantitative verse, under the influence of friends both at Penshurst and Cambridge. Compare Harvey, No. 132b. The third is the Letter to Ralegh, too rarely taken seriously.
(a) From Three Proper, and wittie familiar Letters…(1580); (repr. in most editions of Spenser):
Loe here I let you see my olde vse of toying in Rymes, turned into your artificial straightnesse of Verse, by this Tetrasticon. I beseech you tell me your fancie, without parcialitie.
See yee the blindefouled pretie God, that feathered Archer,
Of Louers Miseries which maketh his bloodie Game?
Wote ye why, his Moother with a Veale hath coouered his Face?
Trust me, least he my Looue happely chaunce to beholde.
Seeme they comparable to those two, which I translated you ex tempore in bed, the last time we lay togither in Westminster?
That which I eate, did I ioy, and that which I greedily gorged,
As for those many goodly matters leaft I for others.
I would hartily wish, you would either send me the Rules and Precepts of Arte, which you obserue in Quantities, or else followe mine, that M. Philip Sidney gaue me, being the very same which M. Drant deuised, but enlarged with M. Sidneys own Judgement, and augmented with my Obseruations, that we might both accorde and agree in one: leaste we ouerthrowe one an other, and be ouerthrown of the rest. Truste me, you will hardly beleeue what greate good liking and estimation Maister Dyer had of youre Satyricall Verses, and I, since the viewe thereof, hauing before of my selfe had speciall liking of Englishe